A website called parentdish
recently revealed the results of a survey, which said that 34 percent of
mothers and 28 percent of fathers admitted to having a favorite child. The other 66 percent of mothers and 72 percent of fathers?
Clearly they were lying when they said they like their kids equally.
Assuming all parents love
their children (please, God), who in their right mind doesn’t favor one kid over another? Seriously, people, is this not
something we can all cop to?
OK, I’ll start: It will come as no surprise to me or anyone who
knows my family that my sister is far and away my parents’ favorite child.
I don’t blame them, really. She never went through a
rebellious phase growing up, whereas I am arguably still deeply entrenched in
the one I started shortly after being born. She went to law school after
college, whereas I became an NBC Page and got paid so little to wear a blue
uniform and give tours of empty TV studios that my dad had to cough up more
than half my rent, just so I wouldn’t continue annoying them in their home four
years after they earned empty-nesters’ status.
While I’ve since gone on to enjoy some success—a great
husband, fulfilling career and funny, healthy kids—I’m doing it 2,000
miles away from all of my family, which necessitates plane rides in order for
them to enjoy their grandchildren and, even then, the grandkids insist on
making a mess in their home.
In other words, I’m a constant thorn in their side. I don’t like being the least-favorite child, but
I also recognize it doesn’t mean my parents love me any less. And even if they
do, I know they still love me (please, God). I’m different from them, for sure,
but that my choices would be different from theirs for me doesn’t mean their
affection for me is affected.
It would seem that healthy parenting would be having the ability to admit that all children are not created equal.
My husband and I also know from having favorite children. I’m not
naming names, especially that of our older daughter. She’s almost 5 and a huge
pain in the ass. We love her to death, but we often have to stop ourselves from
strangling her to death. She whines incessantly and always wants stuff—like
food and attention.
On the other hand, our younger daughter, who is not yet 2,
is all smiles, sunshine and cuddles. She demands nothing—except for
food. But when she eats, she’s cute.
And she eats everything, unlike her older sister, who could easily live on a
diet of air and the word “no.”
Why is it so hard for parents to admit that all is not
equal? Some children are easier than others. Admitting you have a favorite
doesn’t mean you wish harm on one child, or that you don’t love them. Wouldn’t maybe admitting it even force the lesser
of the evils to try and compete for most-favored-child status? Would that be so
bad? You know, except for the child being forced to compete for his parent’s
Do kids really need to be coddled to extent that we need to
reward all behavior by pretending all
is well instead of admitting they annoy us? Who is that helping, exactly? Us?
Our kids? So they can go on and annoy other people with their annoying
behavior? Or maybe they can learn that all is not equal everywhere, and that’s
just life, and sometimes they actually have to act differently if they want to
rise in someone else’s esteem?
Healthy parenting, it would seem, would be coping with and
talking freely about the reality that raising children is not all sunshine,
roses and rosy-cheeked children from sun up to sun down.
It would seem that healthy parenting would be having the
ability to admit that all children are not created equal. And while you have all
the love in your heart for all of them, you kind of definitely favor the one
who didn’t wake you up before sun up or keep you up well after the sun went
Or the one who didn't make you travel to see your grandkids. The one who ate what you put
in front of her the first time (not the 15th) and didn't just swallow two bites, only to appear at
your bedside four hours later with a tear-streaked face complaining of
starvation. Not that we’re naming any names.